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Youth helps ban smoking
Detail: The President's Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) has been presented to OUTRAGE Anti-Tobacco Youth Group from Provo, Utah, at the EPA headquarters on May 13, 2009. OUTRAGE comprises middle school and high school students who joined together to pass regulation to ban smoking in city parks and outdoor recreational areas throughout Utah County.

OUTRAGE members recognized that many young people in Utah County were being exposed to second-hand smoke in public parks where hundreds of families gather to play team sports, use playground equipment, or just enjoy the outdoors. Before OUTRAGE began their project, none of the 219 parks in Utah County were smoke-free.

OUTRAGE worked closely with their youth advisor from the Utah County Health Department and got involved in many community activities to educate residents about second-hand smoke. OUTRAGE also surveyed Utah County residents at various community events to understand their feelings on exposure to second-hand smoke in parks. These surveys revealed that Utah County residents favored mitigating tobacco smoke in parks.

OUTRAGE held more than 40 planning and training meetings to train other youth on the harmful effects of tobacco, as part of their outreach efforts. From 2007 to 2008, OUTRAGE planned and implemented 21 major events. In total, 33 days of volunteer service were spent within the community to better understand the opinions of Utah County residents.

5,112 opinion surveys were gathered on smoking in parks and 13,474 signature cards in support of smoke-free parks. OUTRAGE then presented their work to elected officials at two city council meetings; one meeting with all the mayors in the county, and five meetings with the Board of Health over the course of several months. In response to OUTRAGE's actions, Utah County cities joined together in passing a regulation that banned smoking in all city parks, outdoor recreational areas, and outdoor mass gatherings throughout Utah County. The group is currently planning a campaign to educate Utah County about the new regulation and to spread the message about second-hand smoke and tobacco.

For more information on award winners and project descriptions: http://www.epa.gov/peya/For more information please contact: Sarabjit Jagirdar, Email:- htsyndication@hindustantimes.com
Source: US Fed News, May 22, 2009
Date: May 23 2009